Monday January 27 2014

Kiir orders probe into killings

South Sudan president Salva Kiir

South Sudan president Salva Kiir. PHOTO BY AFP 

By Machel Amos & Agencies

Juba- South Sudan president Salva Kiir has ordered investigations into the circumstances under which civilians were killed and human rights allegedly abused in the aftermath of the failed December 15, 2013 coup.

The seven-member committee has been tasked with collecting information on the abuses, liaising with the African Union investigation team and filing a report to the Office of the President within 45 days.

The order was broadcast on the state television on Thursday, a day after a ceasefire agreement was signed to end five weeks of fighting between the military and rebels led by former vice-president Riek Machar.

Mr Kiir doubted if Dr Machar has full control over his militiamen, notably the white army youth that matched to Pibor and razed the area last year despite Mr Machar’s intervention. The president, however, called these youth to lay down arms and embrace peace.

In another development, the army Chief of General Staff, Gen Hoth Mai, has constituted a marshal court to try suspects connected to civilian killings.
The moves have been described as strengthening accountability after human rights groups sounded alarms of abuses of human rights and impunity during the conflict.

Meanwhile, the South Sudanese government and rebel delegations at the weekend traded accusations over violations of a ceasefire agreement they signed last week.
The deal, received with caution from citizens, is supposed to halt military engagements between the two warring parties and pave way for discussions about the root cause of the conflict.